Nursing homes have facilities to serve the elderly as they age. But most people do not want to live out their twilight years in at an assisted living facility if they can help it. At the same time, they do not want to be a burden to their children. Aging in place is the ideal for most. One concept that has proved practical and spreading in the US and abroad is the “Village” – a retirement community made out of elderly people who help each other out. Check out this video:
The concept of the Village is that the elderly people are in charge of their own community where the tasks of helping each other out is done either by themselves, volunteers or special vendors affiliated with their local village chapter. It becomes a very conducive atmosphere for building natural relationships where the elderly do not feel that they are just living out the days of their lives. Another video that showcases a similar network is found in this article: Aging in Place within a Community.
The Village concept is fluid and based on sound principals of cultivating a community network. What’s great is that people may not have known each other before, but they are now able to come together to help enhance the lives of themselves and others. While fellow villagers cannot provider 24/7 emergencies monitoring help like medical alert systems, a Village type relationship has benefits like the warmth of friendship or help with errands. Since medical alert systems allow seniors to easily summon help when they are alone, and their network of “villagers” could double up as emergency contacts for the local area.
The rest of this PBS video goes into other programs that provide for greater Aging in Place help for seniors.
On a related note, we can also expect robots that are specially designed and programmed for elderly to feature as one of the resources for helping seniors age in place. This is yet another resource for the elderly to draw on and enrich the possibilities created through the Village concept.